I got this brush a while ago from Mac--I believe it was the Naturally collection. I was really excited to get it because I didn't really have a good, large eyeshadow blending brush in my brush collection. I had ones that were smaller (and better for crease placement) but none that were all over blending brushes. The 286 is exactly what I needed!
The Mac 286 is a duo-fibre blending brush--a mix of goat and synthetic hairs. Mac says it gives a sheerer more controlled application of eyeshadow. A Mac sales associate told me it is very similar to the Mac 224, which is a very popular blush for blending the edges of eyeshadow. I am sooo happy to say that this brush has been the perfect blending brush for me! Because of the domed shape, I can use it to apply and blend crease shades as well as using it for overall blending of harsh edges. Because of the duo-fibre I do notice that it picks up a little less product than my other brushes, however I find that it's actually an advantage--it applies crease colors very delicately so there is a nice transition between the crease and brow bone.
Here's some other brushes I compared it to...
|L-R Mac 226, Mac 286, Rock & Republic Blending Brush|
The Mac 226 is a bit smaller--I use this more for precise crease and outer-v eyeshadow placement. Actually prefer (if both brushes are clean) to apply color into the crease using the 226 and then blend that color using the 286. It's the perfect combination of brushes! On the other hand the Rock & Republic blending brush is much fluffier and less tapered. I MUCH prefer the Mac 286 as I feel like i have more control over where I'm blending because there is more of a tip. I've also used this brush to blend concealer--works like a charm!
I'm extremely happy with my Mac 286 and find my eyeshadow looks much more blended and finished now that I have it. I also believe that Mac made it a permanent addition to the Mac brush collection, so you can definitely find it at your counter/store!
What's your favorite brush to blend eyeshadow with?!